U.S. President Donald Trump signs an executive order rolling back regulations from the 2010 Dodd-Frank law on Wall Street reform at the White House in Washington February 3, 2017.Reuters file

The United States has decided to limit the sales of its civil nuclear technology to China fearing that it could be diverted for military and other unauthorized purposes.

In an official statement on Thursday, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said, "The United States cannot ignore the national security implications of China's efforts to obtain nuclear technology outside of established processes of US-China civil nuclear cooperation."

The decision to restrict the sale of nuclear technology was taken after a government policy review meeting which was led by the National Security Council. It is to be noted that Beijing is putting in efforts to obtain advanced technology, nuclear material and equipment from US companies.

"The administration concluded that a change in US civil nuclear cooperation with China is necessary to strike an appropriate balance between long-term risks to US national security and economic interests and the impact to the US nuclear industrial base," an administration official told media.

The review witnessed a discussion on the economic and national security consequences that was triggered by China's attempt to access US intellectual property, sometimes illegally. These could be a threat to the national security of the United States.

Defending the decision the officials also argued that "actively pursuing our advanced nuclear technology for diversion to military use in its third-generation nuclear power submarine, in the development of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and in strategic dual-use nuclear-powered platforms, such as small modular reactors and floating nuclear power plants deployable in the South China Sea."

The development comes after the Trump administration started a trade war with China by slapping tariffs on half the products of Chinese imports. Beijing has also responded with introducing its own set of import duties on the US imports.

The new policy will come into immediate effect and set the guidelines for all existing, pending and future technology transfers to China. In the meeting concerned about technologies which can power submarines, aircraft carriers and small modular reactors that could be used to install the nuclear power plants were also raised.